Friday, February 24, 2017

"I'm Watching My Mens"

Way back in 1988 I worked with a construction company that employed a full crew of men from Mexico.

They all worked hard.

Their foreman, Carlos, was a good man who mostly spoke Spanish, but took our kidding about speaking English when he was in the progress meetings. He would struggle with the nuances of the language and we would laugh. He would laugh along with us...

...most of the time.

One day, I was out with the owner of the company and as we drove by the tavern we saw Carlos duck in for a mid-afternoon drink. I decided to have some fun.

"Carlos, where are you?" I asked over the Walkie-Talkie we all carried.

"Upstairs," he lied.

"What're you doing?" I asked.

"I'm watching my mens," he said.

We parked at the front entrance of the tavern and Carlos came running out.

He almost ran smack dab into us.

"Your mens?" The big boss said.

I thought of Carlos during this week.

I also thought of Jose, who I know now...

...I've spent a lot of time trying to get him to perform his job safely.

Jose works hard too.

But for the past few days he hasn't been at work. Neither has his crew.

Evidently they are not completely legal.

(I never asked them).

They were on the projects...I just tried to get them in line.

Now they are going to be leaving, I believe.

It's a complicated issue.

One that should not be tackled in a simplistic manner, but will be, unfortunately.

I'm not ready to argue about any of it.

I'm just telling you that there are millions of people involved. Families will be ripped apart. Industries will be impacted.

Mens will scatter and hide.

"I'm not staying in Mexico," one Mexican man cried as he was deported this week. "This has been my home for the last 22 years."

His kids are here. He has been working here for all those years...not legally in every sense of the word...

...but he was assimilating and...

...he was paying his taxes too.

Evidently, actually paying taxes is for the people who are not smart.

I wonder if Carlos is still here.

If he is, maybe he better lay low.

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